« back to activities

River & Sea Fishing

Fishing on the River Annan

River Fishing

Annandale is the gateway to Scotland. Motorway links make the journey from north or south remarkably easy. London is an afternoon's drive away. If you are looking for quality salmon, brown trout, sea trout or grayling fishing in South West Scotland or fishing in Dumfries in particular, then Annandale is an ideal location.

The river Annan flows south from just north of Moffat towards the Solway Firth. The mighty Tweed and Clyde also commence their journeys from the very same hills. In the upper reaches the river is just another Scottish burn. At Three Waters Meet the change begins. The river increases in flow due to the tributaries, the Moffat and Evan.


The Annan can be divided into three sections. Lower reaches from Annan to Dormont. Middle; from Dormont to the principle tributary the Kinnel and the higher reaches from the Kinnel to Moffat. These three boundaries reflect the flow and gradient of the river.


The higher and lower sections are shallow and faster flowing than the middle section. The middle section is slower and deeper and meanders through the valley flood plain. The large number of significant tributaries throughout the length of the river effectively stops the fish running to the top in spates.


From an upland torrent the river evolves into a stately glide and flows south through pastoral grazing land, the principal economy in Annandale, then increases in speed as the gradient increases until it meets the Solway. The vast majority of the river is eminently suitable for fly fishing whether your target is the superb quality brown trout or grayling, sea trout fresh off the tide or the mighty salmon.


Dry fly fishing for truly wild brown trout costs a fraction of the southern chalk streams. Unlike the southern chalkstreams you are unlikely to see another fisher all day, the cost will be significantly less and the ambience and tranquillity will surprise you. The river Annan has a remarkable run of salmon which given rain enter the river from early spring peaking in autumn. Most of the beats offer quality fly fishing but there are opportunities to use other methods; spinning and worming. Ever year the river produces something very special in the size of a salmon which has spent four years feeding at sea. 20lb fish are not uncommon and fish between 12lb and 18lbs are regularly caught.


Salmon fishing on the Annan can be phenomenal and easily on a par with several of the bigger more well known rivers. Access is relatively easy provided you book early enough. The Annan is tiny compared to the Dee, Spey, Tweed and Tay but she has the ability to more than punch her weight. A week on the Annan at the back end will cost less than a day on the Tweed and may well result in more sport than you dreamed possible. Falkus described a salmon river as a smolt (immature salmon)factory. As a result of the effort by the Annan Fisheries Board the Annan should be listed in the FTSE top five smolt factories.


For a serious change of tactics try dry fly for sea trout. The Annan is possibly the only river in Scotland where dry fly for sea trout is practised almost everyday. May will see the bigger fish arrive followed in June and July with the bulk of the runs. Herling will run the river during mid Jult and August. Whilst the runs have declined in recent years most believe the cycle is returning in favour of improved runs


You may well see roe deer, otters and Kingfishers as you fish down the pool. Herons and buzzards are plentiful. If you are really lucky you may see a Spotted Flycatcher.

Red squirrels are common in this part of Scotland. Time your visit for autumn and the colours of the forest are amazing, ochre, yellow, amber and olives of every hue possible to imagine.

Due to the work of the Fisheries Board the river thrives and supports species other than the recognised game fish. A total of twenty five different species of fish have been recorded. Chub grow particularly well in the river as do bream and yes, they do take a well presented fly.


Fishing on the Annan can be excellent particularly given rain fall. The river is fairly short by Scottish standards and given the correct conditions fish can be distributed throughout the entire length of the river in a very short space of time. The salmon fishing must rate as possibly the best value for money in the universe. Beats on the Annan regularly out catch comparable beats on the Spey but the cost to you the fisher is far from comparable.


The wild brown trout and grayling fishing are exceptional. Wild brown trout to 7lbs are regularly caught and the UK record for grayling is a live and well in the river Annan. You simply have to catch him. Late March through to May see the best of trout sport with the dry fly coming to the fore. Grayling regularly take the dry but most fishers use spiders and bugs. Long trotting for grayling is a well practiced and highly successful technique on the river. Several of the beats have easy wading with walking across pasture. Access to the fishing is very easy and on several beats you can almost drive to the pools. Registered Guides and qualified Instructors are available to assist in gaining the most enjoyment from your visit.


Thank you to Annandale and Borders Fly Fishing School for the text on this page, www.annanflyfishing.co.uk


For information about fishing permits and availability contact: www.riverannan.co.uk


Sea Fishing

Haaf net fishing in the Solway Firth



The Solway Firth at Annan is fished for salmon, trout and sea trout by a variety of methods- some of which date back to the Burgh Royal Charters of 1538 and 1612.

The fishermen use fixed nets - Poke nets, and Stake nets and Haaf nets. The Haaf net which also rests on the sea bed is supported by a fisherman.

Drift netting or "Whammeling" salmon is not now allowed but trawling for shrimps and mussel dredging takes place.


Useful Fishing Links:


Activities in the Annan area

Bird Watching in the Annan area

Bird Watching

A 1400-acre site and centre provides all year round facilities for viewing many species of wild birds, duck, and wading birds.

Cycling in the Annan area


The Annan area offers the place and pace to suit the cyclist - with unspoilt scenery, contrasting landscapes and a wealth of history and heritage to explore.

Fishing in the Annan area


If you are looking for quality salmon, brown trout, sea trout or grayling fishing in South West Scotland, then Annandale is an ideal location.

Golf in the Annan area


Golf clubs in the local area - ideal for all golfers of all levels.

Annan Sports Facilities

Sports Facilities

Annan swimming pool, leisure & fitness club, outdoor sports complex and football grounds.

Walks in the Annan area


Details of walks in and around Annan that can be enjoyed throughout the year.